We’ve had a few funny things happen to us and we’ve seen a few unusual things (from a U.S cultural perspective)! We will post more from time to time so you get the idea how learning a new culture can be both humorous and challenging at the same time!
Language and money barriers!
Recently when our friends, Rudy & Polly Zollinger (Smithville, Ohio), were visiting, we went to the “fast food restaurant” in town called Hot Spot. Polly decided she only wanted lettuce on her burger. I tried to stress “lettuce only” to the waitress, but didn’t know the Creole word for only. I did the best I could and it seemed the waitress understood fbecause she nodded her head. When she finally came with our order (an hour later?) she handed Polly a plate with a sad little burger with melted cheese on top sitting in the middle with a tiny pile of fries! No bun, no lettuce…wow! We just burst out laughing after the waitress walked away. It was a good reminder to keep practicing Creole! Often this particular restaurant doesn’t have too many items available. Most of us ordered pizza or burgers, but Rudy ordered fish. The waitress came out and said, “no pizza,” but we thought she said “no pwason” (which is fish…hey, it sounds a lot alike!). So we told her to bring a burger. When she brought out burgers for everyone there was one plate too few. We decided to just share the food and Rudy promptly ate one of the burgers (we had waited an hour remember and we still were thinking “no fish!”). After a while she also shows up with a lovely fish! Well…Rudy ate that too while we all laughed again!
There was another time when the nearly deaf “banana lady” (who comes almost every morning to our door) asked Mike for some money for her ripped basket. He decided to offer her a large Haitian coin which had 50 marked on one side. We had gotten this coin from someone else the day before and we assumed it was 50 Haitian gourdes because it was the size of a U.S. half dollar. Well, she clearly didn’t want that coin! He was surprised how persistent she was in not wanting to take that coin, so he eventually shrugged his shoulders, threw up his hands and went in and slammed the door behind him. No use trying to help some people!? We found out weeks later that that large coin is only half–50%–of one gourde, probably worth a penny! (She still comes!)
You know what a siamese twin is right? Have you ever seen a siamese banana? We recently bought one (two?) that were conjoined! Twice as good! Someone deleted the photo I took of it (them?) so I am hoping the banana lady comes up with another one so I can show you!
I’m sure there is a perfectly plausible explanation why this door is hanging upside down! It’s not in our house actually, it’s in the guest house at Bonne Fin. Well, it would drive me perfectly crazy to use that bathroom door every day if it was in my house!
One more…I mentioned earlier that Haitian church services are typically longer than American ones. The kids sit there for a long time! The one church we have been recently attending has quite a few kids that sit up in the front. There are two LSM Homes of Hope at this location which adds to the number of kids dramatically. One time a young girl could not find a bench to squish into and she stood in the aisle for a while. One of the pastors came down from the pulpit to rescue her and let her sit by him on the pulpit! After a while she went to sleep in that big chair! Our kids got quite a kick out of that scene!
To be continued…